ekos-poll

(EKOS)

The lead enjoyed by the Conservatives over the Liberals has dramatically narrowed since Prime Minister Stephen Harper suspended Parliament last month, a new poll suggests.

The Conservatives now lead by a marginal 1.6 percentage points over the Liberals, compared with the 15-point advantage they had in a mid-October survey, according to the EKOS poll released exclusively to CBC News.

EKOS Poll

Asked which party they would support if an election were held tomorrow, 30.9 per cent of those polled chose the Conservatives, and 29.3 per cent backed the Liberals.

The poll found 15.3 per cent of respondents supporting the NDP, 11.9 per cent the Green Party and 10.2 per cent the Bloc Québécois.

Harper prorogued, or suspended, Parliament for two months on Dec. 30. His spokesman said the break would allow the government to consult with the public as it worked on its economic action plan.

However, critics saw the move as a plot to gain a majority on Senate committees while perhaps also avoiding criticism over the Afghan detainees affair.

Government moving in wrong direction

The EKOS poll found that almost 64 percent of respondents felt suspending Parliament was "anti-democratic."

About 47 per cent told EKOS the government was moving in the wrong direction — a sentiment expressed for the first time since June 2009.

EKOS president Frank Graves said the results show the issue of prorogation isn't as obscure a topic as many people might have thought.

"Canadians have noticed, they do care and this is having a very negative impact on Conservative fortunes," Graves said.

The poll was conducted from Jan. 6 to Jan. 12 and involved a random sample of 3,730 Canadians. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.6 per cent, 19 times out of 20.